18/09/2016 Sunday Politics


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My thanks to Greg Hands, Tom Brake and Neil Coyle,


Will Jeremy Corbyn be able to reunite the Labour Party if he's


If Theresa May facing a backbench rebellion over her Brexit strategy?


And does Tim Farron have any chance of staging a Lib Dem comeback


Back with me now is Helen Lewis, Isabel Oakeshott and Tim Shipman.


Also, following on from our interview with Labour MP Peter Kyle,


who's complained that some Corbyn supporters are trying


to deselect him, we can speak to the national


organiser for Momentum, James Schneider, who joins


James, there is mounting evidence that one of the purposes, one of the


purposes, of Momentum is to get more Corbyn friendly Labour MPs elected.


Are you still denying that? There is not mounting evidence that Momentum


is campaigning for the. We are not campaigning for the selections. The


one person who is apparently going to appear in a documentary tomorrow


calling for Peter Kyle to be deselected isn't a member of


Momentum. So you would urge all Momentum supporters in Brighton and


Hove to back Mr Kyle, the sitting MP? That is not what I'm saying, I'm


saying selections are a matter for local party members and affiliates


and it is their right to decide what they would like to decide. Momentum


is not campaigning to reselect any particular MPs. So why was Mr Sandel


addressing a group of Momentum supporters, telling them how to go


about deselecting anti-Corbin Labour MPs? He was invited by one local


group. In a big organisation which is very, very active, 150 groups,


18,000 members, tens of thousands of activists, people have democratic


debate and get invited for talks, that is normal. One meeting does not


dictate national policy. Are you telling us today that Momentum, at


the local level, is not and will not be involved in any efforts to


replace sitting MPs? What I'm telling you is that the selections


are a matter for local Labour Party members and affiliates. It is their


right to choose through the mechanisms laid down by party


conference and the National Executive Committee, to do that,


that is completely normal. What I am saying is Momentum is not


campaigning for any deselection. Even at a local level? Momentum is


not campaigning for deselection. Are you telling me Momentum is not


involved in trying to get rid of local MPs at local level, is that


what you are saying? Andrew, what I'm telling you is that selections


and elections within the Labour Party are the democratic right for


members and affiliates. We are not trying to interfere with that, one


way or the other. There may be members of Momentum who are members


of the Labour Party who take a particular view on their MP, for


example myself, I am a member of Momentum and the Labour Party, I


take the view on my MP, I really like my MP. Who is your MP? Keir


Starmer. So his position is safe from Momentum? All MPs' positions


are safe... We have got Len McCluskey of Unite saying it is time


to get rid of MPs who have been overcritical of Mr Corbyn, Mark


Sandell lecturing Momentum on how to unseat sitting MPs, Clive Lewis


describing deselection as simply democratic selection. Have you not


had the memo yet? Andrew, selections, as I keep on saying, are


the democratic right of local party members and affiliates. I am not


trying to stop anybody having those rights, those rights are extremely


important in a democratic party, but what I'm not going to do is be


goaded into saying something I don't think, which is that Momentum should


be organising for deselection is because that is not what we are


doing. You are not being goaded, simply questioned. Is it correct


that Momentum would like to have, or plans to have, what it is calling an


engagement officer in every constituency Labour Party just to


keep an eye on what is going on? Can you tell us what the engagement


officer would do? It is half true. If you look at the guidelines on


Momentum's website, to be a verified local Momentum, you need positive


engagement with your local Labour Party, local trades union branches,


community and activist groups, so each group has Labour Party


engagement officers so that people are making sure they are taking part


in the party, we want people to be as involved in the Labour Party as


they can be, to be campaigning and part of a Democratic Party. Thank


you, I know this was short notice, thank you for joining us this


morning. Let's move on because we talked


about Labour at the beginning. To the Lib Dems. Theoretically, the Lib


Dems, at this point, given what is happening to Labour, given Mrs May


and grammar schools, there could be an opening for the Lib Dems, but is


there any sign of it? At the moment the thing that Tim Farron could do


to get noticed would be to go skinny-dipping off Brighton beach


because it might get him some press attention. He gave quite an


interesting speech which I'm afraid I read on my mobile phone rather


than watching in person, which tells a tale itself. This is


a guy trying to rebuild locally, get councillors elected again, being


relatively successful at that, they just got a 38% swing in athletes the


other day against the Labour Party, but it is a long road back and at


the moment they are not exploiting the national opportunity they have


got. I think the problem they have got is their grassroots network is


so depleted, the opposite situation to the Labour Party. They do not


have the kind of infrastructure any more, there are no resources, human


or financial resources, they don't have the people to go out there and


knock on doors. Tim Farron, a great and lovely guy, but he doesn't


provide the most charismatic of leadership and they really deep to


find something to pin a revival on, and at the moment it isn't there. I


am more upbeat than these two, it is a long road back that there is a


space down the middle between their Labour is and the Conservatives are,


it is very authoritarian at the Home Office which opens up a space for a


Liberal party. They have only got eight MPs, if they had more, we


would be paying more attention to them. Attention is one of the


problems, getting attention is difficult for them, there will not


be that many senior journalists at the Lib Dem conference. Then never


used to be. We are going way back to where it Lib Dems used to be a long


time ago. But it is worse, if you look ten years ago at least they had


a reasonable cohort but I don't think the number of MPs is the


issue. To get attention you have got to be spiky, punchy, pumping out


controversial press releases, they are not doing that. But they have an


advantage over Labour, they are used to talking to people who disagree


with them, there are relatively few friendly ears for the Lib Dem, and I


think there are some signs of resurgence but it is a long road


back. There is a new Tory group campaigning for hard Brexit. It is


fair to say that the longer Mrs May waits to trigger article 50, the


more Tory divisions will come to the surface? I think that is fair


enough, absolutely, but I have some sympathy with her position of


leaving it until she has got her ducks in a row. Once Article 50 is


triggered, there is a limited time frame to work out the negotiations,


and you had an interesting guest earlier, we had David Liddington who


spent so long on the European diplomatic circuit, and his view is


that you do need time to work all this out before you press the button


on it. So not this side of New Year? But you cannot leave it forever


because there are European elections coming up, it would be ludicrous to


be in a position where we are re-elected MEPs. I will out myself


as a moaning Remainer. Nigel Farage this morning said people voted to


get out of the single market. Did they? Again, no one knows what


Brexit means. We will talk more about that as autumn progresses.


Jo Coburn will be back on BBC Two tomorrow at noon


with coverage of the Lib Dem conference in Brighton.


I will bring Tim Farron's speech on Tuesday.


And I'll be back with more Sunday Politics live from the Labour


conference in Liverpool here on BBC One next Sunday at 11am.


Remember, if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.


Andrew Marr is joined by Ukip leader Diane James MEP and leader of the House of Commons David Lidington MP. On the political panel are Helen Lewis from the New Statesman, Isabel Oakeshott from the Daily Mail and Tim Shipman from the Times.

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